Bing blocks online sex searches in Middle East: study

Mar 06, 2010
This picture taken in 2009 in Paris, shows the front page of the new Microsoft search web engine Bing. The Open Net Initiative (ONI) on Friday said Microsoft's search engine Bing is more prudish than government censors when it comes to sex-related online queries.

The Open Net Initiative (ONI) on Friday said Microsoft's search engine Bing is more prudish than government censors when it comes to sex-related online queries.

A January test of a version tailored for users in Arab countries showed that it filtered Arabic and English words for sexually explicit content along with queries related to gay, lesbian, bi-sexual or transgender material.

Attempts to use filtered keywords prompted a message reading "Your country or region requires a strict Bing SafeSearch setting, which filters out results that might return adult content," according to ONI.

The message seemed at odds with the fact that while political censorship is widespread in the Middle East, not all countries there mandate filtering of sex, nudity, and other such "social content," ONI reported.

"A more targeted approach - either country-based or preferably, defined by the user - is more generally consistent with minimizing the impact on ," ONI study authors concluded.

"Microsoft has signalled its willingness to be at the forefront in protecting freedom of expression around the world. It is difficult to reconcile this position with Bing’s current filtering standards."

The report noted that Bing didn't impose search settings based on IP addresses indicating where computers are located, so users can get around filters by choosing versions of the engine crafted for other countries.

Microsoft did not return an AFP request for comment.

Explore further: Twitter takes note of other apps on smartphones

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Bing app for iPhones hits App Store

Dec 16, 2009

Microsoft announced that a Bing application tailored for Apple's beloved iPhones has hit the virtual shelves of its longtime rival's online App Store.

Bing luring Internet searchers: comScore

Jun 09, 2009

Microsoft's new Internet search engine Bing boosted the software giant's share of the US market in the week following its release, industry tracking firm comScore reported Tuesday.

Recommended for you

UN moves to strengthen digital privacy (Update)

Nov 25, 2014

The United Nations on Tuesday adopted a resolution on protecting digital privacy that for the first time urged governments to offer redress to citizens targeted by mass surveillance.

Spotify turns up volume as losses fall

Nov 25, 2014

The world's biggest music streaming service, Spotify, announced Tuesday its revenue grew by 74 percent in 2013 while net losses shrank by one third, in a year of spectacular expansion.

Virtual money and user's identity

Nov 25, 2014

Bitcoin is the new money: minted and exchanged on the Internet. Faster and cheaper than a bank, the service is attracting attention from all over the world. But a big question remains: are the transactions ...

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

einstienear
not rated yet Mar 07, 2010
Hmmm, it is as though that ONI wanted Homosexualitty and sexual content to be known publicly as "social content"... I agree with the Arabian Countries to Ban these things. They are a poison.
croghan27
1 / 5 (1) Mar 07, 2010
For some reason where I had Google resident I now also have this BING .... can not get rid of the vile thing - it is much worse than Google.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.